IMPHAL: With as many as 28 police personnel posted at Jiribam Police Station testing positive for COVID-19, Jiribam town responded wearing a deserted look and markets closing down though health department has attempted to allay fear of the local inhabitants identifying it as a case of cluster spread and not community transmission.
Cluster spread of the virus among the police personnel, the frontline workers, has triggered a strong panic situation in the mind of the people in the district. Following the fresh cases, Jiribam town witnessed no movement of people on the streets for fear of catching the dreaded virus, sources in Jiribam said.
Jiribam is the only district of the state with railway connection, where thousands of stranded Manipuris from different states are brought there by trains.
Jiribam Ima Keithel Chaokhat Thourang Lup Joint Secretary Th Jamini announced that Jiribam market has been closed temporarily in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the district.
She said that it is very unfortunate that 28 personnel of Jiribam PS who are battling the fight to control COVID-19 in the frontline have tested positive for the contagion. The situation in Jiribam has been caused by the negligence and apathy of the administration. What will be the fate of common people of Jiribam when even the police personnel have been infected by the virus, she questioned.
She said that Jiribam District Hospital is not well equipped with adequate infrastructures like PPEs to combat the virus and various inconveniences are being faced while transporting the COVID-19 positive persons to Imphal.
Meanwhile, following the sudden spurt in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Jiribam district, State Home Department has announced complete lockdown in the district until further orders or till July 15.
Chief Secretary and also Chairman State Executive Committee, State Disaster Management Authority Dr J Sureshbabu has issued an order to this effect on Saturday.
According to the order, there shall be complete curfew in the entire Jiribam district until further orders or till July 15 whichever is earlier. Only personnel of essential services permitted by the District Administration will be allowed. Only inter-state goods carrying vehicles will be allowed to pass Jiribam gate. Passengers coming by vehicles at Jiribam gate after midnight of July 5 will not be allowed to pass and will be put in the institutional quarantine bay Jiribam, added the order.
Jiribam District Administration has also declared 17 different places in the district as containment zones as a measure to curb further spread of the virus. The containment zones include the geographical areas of RK Sanatombi Vidyala School, surrounding of the residence of Th Bikram, Jiribam Foreigner Check post, its neighbouring houses, Sambhu Fish market, Public toilet near Jiri river, Jiri Chingdong Leikai Patchou, neighbouring houses belonging to Haobam Joykumar, Haobam Dhananjoy, Moirangthem Babusana and neighbouring paddy fields, three houses at Kalinagar Ward no 1, Kalinagar LP school, three houses at Golathol, Lakhimpur ward no 9, Jiribam Sorok Atingbi Kunjabon, Bidyanagar, Dibong Khunou, Dibong Khunou ward no 8, three houses at Babupara ward no 5, farm and pond belonging to Manitombi, house of Thokchom Ruhini Dibong Makha Leikai, Congress Bhavan Babupara and others.
State Government was prompted to take up the containment and precautionary measures after 28 Police personnel posted at Jiribam PS who have close contact with the infected ASI were tested positive for the Virus on July 3. The infected personnel included one ASI, 4 head constables, one driver, 5 lady police constables and 8 VDF personnel. 5 of them are said to be escort personnel of Additional SP (ops), one Reader, to SDPO Jiribam, two police constable and one VDF man posted at Jiribam Foreigner Check post, one constable posted at Jiribam Reserve Line and two woman constables posted at RK Sanatombi School Community Quarantine centre while the remaining others are posted at Jiribam PS.
Meanwhile, the 27 COVID-19 affected police personnel have been transported from Jiribam to Imphal by a bus on Saturday at about 4 PM due to non-availability of Ambulance. Samples of 160 individuals who have close contact with the infected 27 cops have also been collected and results are likely to be received tomorrow, added the source.